Bengaluru, February 24: Australia have joined 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar in withdrawing from the 2021 Copa America.
The Socceroos and Al Annabi had been scheduled to contest the tournament, due to be held in Argentina and Colombia in June and July, as invited guests of CONMEBOL.
However, the postponement of the remainder of the second round of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifying for the World Cup until June because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led both teams to pull out.
Qatar, who announced their withdrawal on Tuesday, are competing in the qualifying process to secure a place in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. They are top of Group E and will seal their spot if they win it.
The Qatar Football Association has decided not to participate in the 2021 Copa America, which is scheduled to be hosted by Colombia and Argentina from June 11 to July 10— Qatar Football Association (@QFA_EN) February 23, 2021
Details: https://t.co/3NzeSGnF2N pic.twitter.com/Ylrf3108oB
Australia are top of Group B and on course to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup and progress to the third round of the World Cup qualification progress.
"The Socceroos' players and staff were greatly looking forward to the unique opportunity of playing in the Copa America and it is unfortunate that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to attend in 2021," Australia coach Graham Arnold said.
The 2021 Copa America is scheduled to be held from June 11 to July 10 at nine venues in Argentina and Colombia.
(With Omnisport inputs)
"On behalf of the team I thank CONMEBOL for the invitation, which would have presented our team with a fantastic opportunity to test itself against some of the world's best."
We thank @CONMEBOL for the invitation, and remain hopeful for an opportunity to participate in future editions of the competition!— Socceroos (@Socceroos) February 23, 2021